How Does Debt Consolidation affect your Credit Score

How Does Debt Consolidation Affect Your Credit Score

What is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation combines most of your debts into one loan with a lower interest rate. It allows you to consolidate your monthly payments and hopefully allowing you to get debt-free sooner.

There are several ways to consolidate your debt. You could do a balance transfer credit card, take out a personal loan, borrow from your retirement account or against your home’s equity. You can also work with a debt consolidation company.

There are other options than debt consolidation. Pacific Debt offers debt settlement options for people with more than $10,000 in unsecured (generally credit cards) debt.

For more information on both debt consolidation and debt settlement,
talk with one of our debt professionals.

Does Debt Consolidation Hurt Your Credit Score?

Debt consolidation hurts your credit score in the beginning. Before getting a loan or getting a new credit card, you will have to have a “hard” credit check. This generally lowers your credit rating by a few points on each inquiry. Before you apply for new credit, research the different loans and ask for quotes based on “soft” credit checks. You can make an informed decision and limit the number of hard checks.

Opening the new account will also lower your credit scores for a short time period. However, as you pay off your debts on time and the account age, your credit score will improve. As you pay off your debts, keep some of the oldest credit cards open (and debt-free) to improve your credit history.

Should I Consolidate My Debt?

There are good reasons to consider debt consolidation. By lowering interest rates, you’ll save money. Just make sure that balance transfer fees don’t eat up the savings.

Rolling many debts into one debt can make your life simpler. If you’ve been plagued by missing or late payments, you may save money by avoiding penalties. Not having missing and late payments will help your credit score. Payment history makes up 33% of your credit score, so a better payment history is important.

A lower-interest loan will let you put more money toward the principal instead of interest fees.

For more information, talk with one of Pacific Debt’s debt professionals.

Where Do I Start?

    1. There are several strategies that make debt consolidation work.
      1. Have a plan: transferring debt around without paying it off won’t get you debt free or improve your credit score.
      2. Make certain that your consolidation loan will save you money, get you out of debt, and raise your credit score. Take fees into consideration.
      3. Investigate several options
        1. Balance transfer credit cards – these come with fees, so double check them to make sure that any interest savings aren’t eaten up. Check the time limits on paying off your transfer. The interest rate may increase dramatically after that time limit. Promo dates are generally between six and 24 months. PAY OFF your transfer before that date. If you cannot, this may be a terrible idea. Know the payment due date!
        2. Personal loans – Lower interest rates can help you pay off higher-interest credit cards. Shop around and ask for quote based on soft credit checks. Double check the terms as the interest rates may be very high.
        3. Retirement account loans – Talk with a professional accountant before doing this. There are severe tax penalties for not paying back a retirement account loan.
        4. Home equity (HEL) or line of credit (HELOC)- If you own a home with equity (you owe less than you can sell the house for), investigate this type of loan. You will need to have more equity than you do debt for this to work in your favor.  Be aware that if you do not pay your home equity loan back, you can lose your house.

Pacific Debt can help you understand your options.

What Should I Expect?

Expect a hit on your credit score, although you can limit the effect with soft credit checks. If you pay off debts, stop missing or making late payments, and then pay off your new loan, you should see improvement in your score over time.

If you have questions, Pacific Debt may be able to help you understand your options.
However, Pacific Debt is not able to offer legal advice or answer tax questions.

References
https://www.creditkarma.com/advice/i/how-debt-consolidation-affect-credit-score/
https://www.lendingtree.com/debt-consolidation/does-debt-consolidation-hurt-your-credit-score/
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/consolidate-debt

Our Debt Specialists can help you explore your alternatives to bankruptcy, including debt consolidation and debt settlement options.

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Disclaimers

We are not lawyers and are not giving legal advice. We strongly recommend speaking to a professional before making any decisions.

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